Under Jackie’s Shadow: Voices of Black Minor Leaguers Baseball Left Behind

Univ. of Nebraska. Apr. 2024. 224p. ISBN 9781496237170. $32.95. HIST
Jackie Robinson’s signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 is often referred to as the event that broke baseball’s color barrier. When being honored for that achievement 25 years later, Robinson remarked that he would be even more pleased if there were Black executives managing baseball teams. Inspired by Robinson’s statement, sports law professor Nathanson (Villanova Univ. School of Law; The Ten-Minute Collapse: Black Friday and the Fall of the 1977 Phillies) asked many Black athletes who played in Minor League Baseball in the 1960s and 1970s to write about their own experiences with the mostly white executives and coaches in the game. The resulting 13 stories in this book paint a powerful, disturbing portrait of a culture of racism in baseball, and Nathanson shows that it’s a widespread problem that continues to deny many Black players opportunities they deserve. The expertly written stories will surprise, sadden, and anger many readers.
VERDICT This is a powerful work that shouldn’t be missed. While it focuses mostly on lesser-known aspects of the culture of Minor League Baseball, it could become a referendum on the state of racism in the United States today. Highly recommended.
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